This summer season is proving a tragic one for swimmers and divers, with a number of deaths already reported on Italys shores and beach resorts.
Two underwater divers have been killed off the coast of Italy in the past two days, in accidents where they have been run down and killed instantly by the propellers of high-powered motor boats. The first accident happened off the island of Vulcano in the Eolian islands, the boat did not stop. The second accident happened in the port of Ponza off the coast of Lazio when a diver went out to retrieve bait he had lost the previous evening. He was run over by a rubber dinghy driven by a boat-yard employee who stopped immediately, but there was nothing to be done.
Three youths also lost their lives mid July in San Salvo (Abruzzo) in the Adriatic sea. Although red flags were put up to warn bathers of the bad sea conditions the boys decided to ignore the warnings, entered the sea and drowned. The oldest boy was 23 the youngest only 13.
Similarly, a little boy drowned in Lido di Fermo also on the Adriatic coast, after he entered the sea despite the red flag warnings.
In Porto Frailis (Sardinia) a sixteen-year old divers body was recovered 10 metres under water while a 50-year-old Dutch citizen drowned in the Lavarone lake in Trentino-Alto Adige
Tragic water accidents happen quickly and the Mediterranean shores are not as safe as many foreigners believe. There are currents, and the wind and storms can blow up quickly. The most common reason for mishaps is a lack of safety knowledge. Lifeguards recommend the following safety tips:
Swim near a lifeguard. Never swim alone. Don't dive into unknown water or into shallow breaking waves. Ask a lifeguard about beach and surf conditions before swimming. Look for, read and obey all beach safety signs and symbols. Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present. If caught in a rip current, swim sideways until free, don't swim against the current's pull. Do not swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Swim parallel to the shore if you wish to swim long distances. Scuba dive only if trained and never on your own. Never turn your back to the ocean you may be swept into tide pool areas and into the water by waves that can come without warning. If in doubt, just stay out!